Thursday, March 27, 2014

Patrick Cannon's career: Dusting off the CL archives

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Last year, Creative Loafing elected to not endorse either candidate in the mayoral race. Whew! Did we dodge a bullet there. At the time, we wrote that "Cannon's insider status could make him too cozy with the same old/same old, back-scratching methods of governing that too often bog down projects and stifle creative thinking." We just didn't think those old, back-scratching ways would lead to an undercover FBI sting, an arrest, a 40-plus page indictment and ultimately a resignation.

Take a walk down memory lane with us, will you, as we look back at some highlights of our coverage of former mayor Patrick Cannon's career (via CL's archives).

The last time Cannon tried to be mayor
* In a story titled "Why Cannon Backfired" that ran in 2005, we looked at why Cannon's short-lived mayoral run against McCrory failed.

The official reason he gave for ending his campaign last Wednesday was the deaths of two relatives and the need to refocus on his family. But political insiders say there's more to the story. The political bridges Cannon burned in his decade on the Charlotte City Council came back to haunt him, many say, and a split he had helped widen in the fractured black political community probably finished off his short-lived mayoral run.

The piece goes on to tell a story of a battle between the old established and new blood.

The problems that would eventually hamstring Cannon's campaign started in 1999, when young African-American upstart Malcolm Graham won a district seat on City Council. Unlike Cannon, who had paid his dues and been pulled up through the ranks by the African-American community's old political guard, Graham won his seat by defeating a member of that old guard. Like Cannon, Graham had mayoral ambitions and might one day even like to take a crack at winning the congressional seat held by Mel Watt in largely African-American Congressional District 12. The two men were almost bound to clash, and quickly did.

What would you consider a "core issue?"
* In 2009, Cannon campaigned to return to the political scene, after a three-and-a-half year hiatus, for an at-large city council seat, the last position he held. When asked why he wasn't vying for the mayoral office again, he said:

"At present, I have no real desire to want to break ties or make community appointments to cut ribbons and have little veto power. I'm much more interested right now in helping people on those core issues that mean so much to our city. A title is nice, but what is the use of having a title if it's not as impactful as it should be?"

The honorable thing to do
* In 2010, councilman Warren Turner was accused of sexual misconduct. At the time, the city didn't have a policy in place that would hold council members or the mayor responsible for harassment, so, of course, one had to be written. Joining three other council members in drafting a code of conduct - a code of conduct - was Cannon.

"This has never happened in past years," Cannon said. "This is a situation where sometimes we often as a society react to something and then find that there wasn't anything - like in this case - to address it. Because it has never occurred before, it was probably always a thought that we wouldn't have to address something like this. And if we ever had to address something like this that there would be something out there applicable to the mayor and City Council. But much like what we have today in the form of Amber Alerts, there wouldn't be an Amber Alert Law had the situation not occurred with Amber."

He got things done, alright
* In an October 2013 interview, Cannon shared why he was running for mayor. He neglects to mention he's not one of those "Chicago or Detroit types," as he allegedly later told the undercover FBI agent.

As a native Charlottean, and one who cares deeply for the people and the city I live in, I bring about a servant's heart to want to create a better city throughout every part of our city; to enjoy a safe, affordable and thriving city with a comprehensive transportation plan. Secondly, I'm also running because I believe we need energetic leadership that has a proven track record of getting things done.

A life goal realized
* After the mayoral election in November 2013, we offered a note of congratulations to Cannon when he realized "a life goal":

Congratulations to mayor-elect Patrick Cannon, who defeated his GOP opponent Ed Peacock in yesterday's voting. Right off the bat during his victory speech, Cannon, ever a ball of energy, grabbed the world by the lapels and told everyone why winning the mayor's race was so important. It wasn't "Now we can begin to really move this city forward!" nor was it, "Together, we can make my bold vision for Charlotte a reality!" nor even "I think we need more diverse food wagons." No, electing Patrick Cannon as Charlotte's mayor is a huge, huge deal because, as the man himself explained it, "I am realizing a life goal."

A life goal lost
* An arrest, a federal indictment and a resignation, all in one day.

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